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Functional equivalence of the National Adult Reading Test (NART) and Schonell reading tests and NART norms in the Dynamic Analyses to Optimise Ageing (DYNOPTA) project

This study investigates the functional equivalence of two measures of irregular word pronunciation—National Adult Reading Test (NART) and Schonell—which are popular instruments used to assess verbal neurocognitive functioning and to estimate premorbid IQ. We report norms for the NART in a pooled sample from 3 Australian population-based studies of adults aged 65-103 years. Norms were stratified by sex and age left school in 5-year age groups. The NART and the Schonell had a strong linear relation, allowing for the imputation of NART scores based on Schonell performance within 1 study. Neither measure was sensitive to the effects of sex after adjusting for the effects of age and education. Early school leavers performed worse on both measures. Data pooling enables greater precision and improved generalizability of NART norms than do methods that use single older adult samples.

from the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

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Genetic Covariation Between the Author Recognition Test and Reading and Verbal Abilities: What Can We Learn from the Analysis of High Performance?

Abstract The Author Recognition Test (ART) measures print exposure and is a unique predictor of phonological and orthographic processes in reading. In a sample of adolescent and young adult twins and siblings (216 MZ/430 DZ pairs, 307 singletons; aged 11–29 years) ART scores were moderately heritable (67%) and correlated with reading and verbal abilities, with genes largely accounting for the covariance. We also examine whether high (and low) (i.e. 1SD above the mean) represents a quantitative extreme of the normal distribution. Heritability for high ART was of similar magnitude to the full sample, but, a specific genetic factor, independent from both low ART performance and high reading ability, accounted for 53–58% of the variance. This suggests a distinct genetic etiology for high ART ability and we speculate that the specific genetic influence is on orthographical processing, a critical factor in developing word recognition skills.

from Behavior Genetics

Putative sex differences in verbal abilities and language cortex: A critical review

from Brain and Language

This review brings together evidence from a diverse field of methods for investigating sex differences in language processing. Differences are found in certain language-related deficits, such as stuttering, dyslexia, autism and schizophrenia. Common to these is that language problems may follow from, rather than cause the deficit. Large studies have been conducted on sex differences in verbal abilities within the normal population, and a careful reading of the results suggests that differences in language proficiency do not exist. Early differences in language acquisition show a slight advantage for girls, but this gradually disappears. A difference in language lateralization of brain structure and function in adults has also been suggested, perhaps following size differences in the corpus callosum. Neither of these claims is substantiated by evidence. In addition, overall results from studies on regional grey matter distribution using voxel-based morphometry, indicate no consistent differences between males and females in language-related cortical regions. Language function in Wada tests, aphasia, and in normal ageing also fails to show sex differentiation.